In this Q&A, we spoke with Oliver Amann (right) & Albert Garza (left) of Amann Girrbach about the Ceramill system, where they see the lab industry going and how CAD/CAM is changing everything.
01. Where do you see the U.S. dental laboratory market going?
Oliver Amann, Vice President of Research & Development: I believe it will continue to move toward in-house digital production. We see this not only with scanning and designing, but now with milling in the laboratory.
OA: It is a natural progression. Dental technology has always been an art form and very personal to the technician. When all-ceramics improved patient satisfaction in both function and esthetics, laboratories were forced to outsource ceramic fabrication to provide the service to their customers and meet their expectations. With outsourcing, the lab relinquished some of the control. As technology improved, mills were able to be made smaller and also became more affordable for the dental laboratory setting. So the lab could now bring the work back in-house for complete control.
03. What is the biggest hurdle for laboratories trying to make the leap to CAD/CAM technology?
Albert Garza, Vice President, North America Marketing & Sales: Justifying the investment. We provide a calculator to show the cost of outsourcing versus the cost to own equipment. We then explain the value-added benefits of shorter turnaround, in lab control and precise results.
THE CERAMILL MOTION 2 IN ACTION:
04. With so many CAD/CAM players in the market, what makes Amann Girrbach different?
AG: We took a modular and open architecture approach when designing the Motion 2 mill. It was important to design a system that was flexible enough to grow with laboratories and meet their changing needs as newer materials were developed. On the support side, we pride ourselves on being a supportive partner to our laboratories. We provide expert attention throughout every facet of their CAD/CAM experience, from sales to installation, maintenance, technical support and training.
05. What can we expect to see from Amann Girrbach in the near future?
OA: At the 2013 IDS meeting, we introduced a variety of materials, developed both internally and through partnerships. One such new product is Sintron®, a soft wax-like, millable CrCo. Sintron CrCo can be milled on the same mill laboratories use for zirconia. With the rising costs of noble metal and now Sintron’s widespread availability, Sintron is becoming a more attractive material option for the U.S. market. Other materials introduced at IDS include more glass ceramics, lithium silicate and disilicate, pre-colored zirconia and a provisional material, to name just a few.
06. What role do indications/applications play in the purchase of your Ceramill system?
OA: Because the Motion 2 is both a wet and dry mill with grinding capabilities, the fabrication possibilities seem endless. Currently, the Motion 2 mill can handle full arch zirconia restorations and frameworks, implant abutments and screw-retained restorations, inlays, onlays, and veneers. We are working on a denture application where the denture is milled from a wax blank and processed conventionally. This alleviates the issues previously known for tissue/bone accommodation.
07. Where do you see the greatest growth for CAD/CAM?
OA: Ceramill is currently the leading full CAD/CAM system sold in Europe. We believe the next opportunities for explosive growth lie in the Asia Pacific and certainly the U.S. markets. We have significantly increased our focus on the U.S. market, establishing a U.S. headquarters, help desk and training center in Charlotte, N.C. This allows us to quickly and efficiently respond to the needs of our customers, whether it’s for sales, service, support or training, adding direct value to U.S. customers.
08. What changes do your customers see after purchasing the Ceramill System?
AG: The biggest change is the type of cases the lab accepts. Most often their cases migrate from metal castings to all-ceramic, becoming in effect an all-ceramic laboratory. Many lab owners found their customers were outsourcing to other laboratories because they did not offer these all-ceramic services directly. Many labs recoup these lost cases now that they have the equipment to address patient demands for the more esthetic options. Another change is the significant reduction in overall costs and labor.
09. What are two things labs should remember about Amann Girrbach?
AG: Esthetics and Precision. The Amann Girrbach name has long been synonymous with precision, because of the attributes of our Artex® articulator series, our model management products from the Smartbox/Smartmix collection, as well as the Giroform system. The Ceramill Map, Mind and Motion allow laboratories to integrate a new level of esthetics to all restorations. With all products combined, laboratories can now achieve exceptionally precise and esthetic results.
10. What advice do you have for those laboratory owners just beginning to look at investing in CAD/CAM technology or upgrading existing technology?
AG: Laboratory owners need to do their homework and incorporate their team into the research process. It is vital to understand the company selling, manufacturing and servicing the equipment. Learn about the training offered with the system-the levels and modes of training available. Attend system demonstrations hosted by other laboratory owners or at a company event. Understand all associated costs, determine if the system is upgradable and compatible with other systems, and identify maintenance requirements. Review the current product mix you offer and the associated revenues and costs. Speak with your current customers and prospects regarding patient requests for new and current materials. Finally: Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it. Get excited about making the change.
This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Dental Lab Products. Click here to make sure you get great articles like these every month: http://bit.ly/18S8j4i